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Raleigh magnet school drops letter grades

September 6, 2018 GMT

There’s a new vision at Carroll Leadership in Technology Magnet Middle School that doesn’t include letter grades.

“Our goal is to take away from the focus on grading and replace that with a focus on learning,” Principal Elizabeth MacWilliams said.

MacWilliams said the change was necessary because school letter grades of A to F were not providing enough information to parents.

“Your child comes home with a B, but you don’t know what you can do differently to ensure that your child moves from a B to an A,” she said.

Because of the desire for more information, Carroll Middle parents are now seeing a new rubric that tells them whether their child is progressing or meeting or exceeding expectations in specific areas within each class.

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Students have mixed reviews.

“I’m, like, really into the grades,” seventh-grader Cate Mears said. “So, this may help me in it or this may completely stress me out.”

Jayden Davis, also a seventh-grader, said he was open to the changes.

“My mom said she likes the letter grades better because it will tell you earlier if (you), like, succeeded or passed, but I like this one better,” he said.

Depending on which of the three categories students are placed in, they will be assigned different lesson plans to improve. MacWilliams says it will boil down to a more personalized approach.

“If there are 30 kids in the classroom, they may be participating in 30 different activities depending on their skillset around each of these standards,” she said.

At the end of the school year, Carroll Middle students will have to take the same state-mandated End of Course and End of Grade assessments other middle-schoolers do. If they excel, county leaders will consider expanding the program to other schools.